310 S Front St
Memphis, TN 38103
310 S Front St
Memphis, TN 38103
May 12, 20094.0
5-star fried chicken in a 3-star restaurant.
After reading Troutqueen’s earlier review, and having heard good things about Gus’s through the grapevine, I opted to pay them a visit. Today was that day.
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken actually starts with a little folklore. The original owner, the one who got the “world famous” title for the chicken, supposedly sold it to the people now running it. She sold everything to them EXCEPT the recipe for the frying batter, which is batched off-site and shipped to each of the various Gus’s chickens. Is it a true story? I don’t know, but it’s certainly interesting—and believable because the batter was the best I’d ever had. Crispy, spicy, and not overly greasy. In a word: PERFECTION. Do yourself a favor and order something that’s been battered and fried if you go to Gus’s.
The downtown location might prove a little challenging for (on-street) parking, so expect to walk 1/4 to 1/2 a block. Though it’s in the southern downtown area, it’s still advisable to lock your doors and stow valuables out of sight before leaving your vehicle.
I went at lunch time just before noon and Gus’s was busy but not completely packed. That changed after noon passed: the place hit 100% capacity and several people were just getting things to go. The wait time wasn’t bad for our group, but it did (despite our just-before-the-lunch-rush arrival time) seem to take a little longer than most other sit-down restaurants.
The wait staff was efficient but not particularly friendly—potentially because they were so busy and simply focused on getting food to people. The restaurant was clean but the interior was spartan. Gus’s could use an interior makeover: the painted cinder block walls with an occasional bit of Elvis or Memphis nostalgia made for an uninspired and dull atmosphere—which is bad if service as there’s nothing to do or look at. They could use some additional Memphis-themed conversation pieces to liven the place up a bit.
A traditional southern comfort food, expect to receive about 6 slices of green tomatoes that have been battered and fried until mouth-scaldingly hot. The fried batter was simply amazing: spicy, crunchy, liberally applied—perhaps too liberally applied. The batter overwhelms the mildly sour tang of the green tomatoes. Gus’s needs to either cut back on the batter or cut the green tomatoes thicker. Still, these were better than my own attempts at making homemade fried green tomatoes, but then again I’m a Yankee and can at best only hope to one day get 3 stars. :).
The meal comes with slaw, baked beans, and two slices of white (Wonder?) bread as side items. The slaw was pedestrian (2 stars), the beans weren’t bad (3 stars), and the bread…. I was the only one at my table to even taste it: I’m not sure I’m supposed to actually eat the white bread or if it’s for wiping grease off the fingers. (Maybe for absorbing excess grease in the stomach?)
The fried chicken, in contrast, was divine. Served at the same burn-your-mouth temperature as the fried green tomatoes, Gus’s has more than earned the “World Famous” description of their chicken. It’s the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.
Normally I’d give the chicken 5 stars and the sides 2-3 stars and the average out the whole plate to 4 stars, but the chicken is so good that I can in good faith utterly ignore—and forgive—the side dishes for their outright mediocrity.
April 6, 20094.0
When I want good, spicy fried chicken, I go to Gus’s downtown. Perfectly crispy, seasoned to a good level of spiciness. Don’t expect to get much of anything other than fried chicken here with the usual accompaniments. Fries are good, but the slaw and beans are forgettable. They serve the friend chicken with sliced bread as well.
A tip: If you’re with a group, order family style with large sides, or you’ll wait much longer (according to the wait staff when we asked).
Expect to wait awhile, even if you’re one of the first ones there. During lunch, we know to slate 2 hours to eating there. Sometimes we’re lucky to get out of there after only an hour, but 1 1/2 hours is pretty normal. The wait is not inattentiveness of the staff, but rather frying everything fresh and my best guess is that they don’t have a lot of fryers, or have small fyers back there. They also have a number of take-out orders called ahead that morning that they’re preparing.
But if you want good fried chicken, it’s worth the wait!
Great, crispy, not too greasy chicken. Worth every penny. I usually put hot sauce on my fried chicken and found I didn’t need to do so. There is only spicy chicken so probably not for kids or people who prefer non-spicy (as my husband would attest).
July 26, 2011
It's so satisfying when the place that's been generating the hype not only lives up to it, but is even better! And this place does it. I never miss it when I'm in Memphis!\r \r The chicken here is always juicy and the breading isn't…
June 13, 2011
I just moved to Memphis and can't stay away from Gus's on Front St. It is really really good fried chicken, really. It's a hole in the wall, and there is usually a wait, but it is worth the time and effort.
March 3, 2010
BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER! Little Chicken shak with BIG flavor. Love this chicken. Very basic and if you want something besides chicken you have come the wrong place.
These dishes from the Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken menu are contributed by Menuism users directly, as part of a restaurant review, or as part of an image upload.